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Our Mel - MBE

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Flying High:

Melissa Richardson, Senior Emerging Talent Manager in the Strategic Resourcing team at British Airways has been awarded an MBE in The King’s New Years Honours List for 2024 for Services to Early Careers in Aviation.

This prestigious award recognises her outstanding efforts in supercharging British Airways’ award-winning Emerging Talent programmes, which provide work experience and employment opportunities for young people across the UK.

Mel, who studied at Wrotham Secondary School in Sevenoaks, joined the airline in 2012 as an apprentice and has worked tirelessly to drive forward and promote British Airways’ Emerging Talent vision. She is responsible for engaging with and inspiring more than 175,000 young people to consider a career in aviation, enabling them to realise their potential and raise the profile of the airlines award-winning graduate, apprentice, business placement and work experience programmes. Mel has worked closely with teams from across the airline to address the skills gap and implement new early career opportunities, such as specialist graduate and apprenticeship programmes and launch a series of campaigns designed to inspire and attract future talent to the airline.

As part of British Airways’ ongoing commitment to recruiting future talent and providing equal opportunities to people from all backgrounds, Mel played a significant role in launching the airlines partnership with The Prince’s Trust earlier this year to deliver its flagship “Get into Aviation with British Airways” programme. The initiative supports young people from across London who are looking to secure a career in the industry through work experience opportunities or on one of British Airways apprenticeship programmes.

Mel also supercharged the launch of Speedbird-Z, a dedicated student website where individuals can complete e-learning modules. Through the online platform, which has been accessed by more than 17,000 students to date, individuals can ask questions to British Airways mentors and register their interest to apply for work experience placements across the airline.

Melissa Richardson, on receiving her MBE, said: “I am truly honoured and extremely humbled to have been awarded with an MBE for Services to Early Careers in Aviation. I am very lucky that my job is my passion, and I have been able to shape the lives of so many students, raising aspirations and working with young people from all walks of life over the last decade. I am excited about the opportunities this award will give me in continuing to support the next generation.”

Lisa Tremble, Chief People, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Officer said "I am delighted Melissa has been recognised for her outstanding contributions to our business and wider society for Services to Early Careers in Aviation. Her ongoing passion for inspiring the young people of today to consider a career in our thriving industry is infectious and she is a true inspiration to us all."

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